Did you get the recent flu bug that went around? It seemed to spread like wildfire, at the same time many of us were thinking about seeding. What’s the connection? Bear with me.

The other day a grower asked me what the point of treating his seed was. He had it tested and it came back with good germination and excellent vigour. Combine that with low disease pressure in his area, and he felt he had a recipe for success, without seed treatment.

Why invest in a seed treatment these days when such high-quality seed is available? It’s a question I get a lot. It makes sense, in a way. If farmers are already investing in high-quality certified seed, why spend extra to treat it?

There’s a lot to consider other than just seed quality. I asked this particular grower, “What are you seeding into?” He said canola stubble, but it had been wheat stubble the year before that.

I reminded him that the amount of diseased seeds and chaff that came out the back of his combine two or even four years ago was just sitting in the soil, waiting for an unprotected seed to go into the ground. Soil inoculum is a hidden danger that we often don’t think about, because it’s virtually invisible.

Now, back to the topic of the recent flu bug that sent many of us reaching for the tissues. If you’re in a room full of sick people, what’s the first thing you do when you get home? If you’re like me, you wash your hands. You need to do what you can to prevent yourself from getting sick.

It helps to think of seed treatment as a preventative measure to keep your seed free from disease. That seed is an investment that needs to be protected.

Spring has been late across the Prairies, and that means cold soil — prime conditions for root rots of all kinds. Seed won’t want to germinate as soon as it hits the ground, which means it’ll be sitting in the soil and vulnerable to disease.

The need to treat is paramount; to protect that seed from disease Stay tuned for my next column on what we can expect in the weeks ahead in terms of disease pressure and how seed treatments play a role in protecting your seed.

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